It's obvious - at least to all the locals - that turns 1 and turn 2 (called pothole for the bump in it) at Mike Pero Motorsport Park are worth some serious time. I learnt this the hard way the first time I ventured south for NZSBK 2016 but when you don't ride here regularly it's easy to lose the pace through these fast corners. Here's a permanent and open reminder to all riding the smaller capacity classes just how important this fast back section is.
The screen shot you can see is from my GPS lap timer, a QStarz BT-Q1000eX 10Hz. The green lap is the fastest I went on Sunday, a 1:40.666 and my new PB at Ruapuna. The orange line is a lap i did at the end of the NZ Grand Prix race when I had overheated my tyres and they weren't doing what I wanted. It's also very close to a common lap I was turning last Thursday in practice. I was frustrated and not being able to dip below the 43s and it's pretty clear to see where I was going wrong. My top speeds in this NZ GP race were between 194km/hr and 198km/hr which were done into Zayne Agate's slip stream. These are way down on the speeds I was running in 2017 without a slipstream so I'm extra happy I took time out my PB on an objectively slower bike.
The difference in the laps is 2.643 seconds. The yellow dots are the sectors. Here's how it breaks down:
Start/finish line to sector 1: +0.272
Sector 1 to sector 2: +0.945
Sector 2 to sector 3: +0.381
Sector 3 to sector 4: +0.684
Sector 4 to start/finish: +0.361
So you can see straight off the bat from the graph, I was losing almost a second in one corner! Unsurprising given my tyres weren't allowing me to go where I wanted, and I had rolled off marginally because the gap was too large to breach. Never the less I was still going through pothole at 113km/hr which for the most part still feels acceptably quick. A second! Try make that up across the circuit and you're in for a tough time!
A special shout out then to Zayne Agate, a local young and fast lad here who either has no fear or blacks out briefly every lap through pothole allowing him to do the stupid speed he was. I picked up near on 10km/hr on my best in 2017 following him through pothole. In one race he ran onto the grass on the outside of the corner 3 times and onto the concrete on the other side of the ripple strip another 4 times. And he didn't go down! What a menace. I remember backing off slightly going through there because I was convinced he was going to high side when he got back on the track. Turning at 128km/hr on the grass, can you blame me? If you watch the CTAS live video from the round he probably picks up 2-3 bike lengths in that one corner. Champion.
Sector 4 (between marker 3 and 4) is why I love this GPS lap timer. Through the kink and into the dipper I dropped 0.684 seconds. That's massive. But if you look at the graph, each one of those corners I was down on average 3-4km/hr. You'd be doing well to perceive such a small change sometimes. But this is circuit racing and it all adds up to over half a second over 4 slow and technical corners. Yesterday when I wrote about not having the intensity in my practice laps leading into the round, this is exactly what I was talking about. Not having someone to chase usually means those few crucial km/hr a corner which make a massive difference.
There are a number of other areas I need to work on that you can pick up from this data. I've looked at hundreds of graph plots of my racing so some of these might be more obvious to me than you. If I back to back it with my TZ80 laps, and last year's nationals, there's even more interesting anomalies to pick out. I hope this gave a little insight into what I'm looking at and how I'm thinking when you walk past my pits and I'm staring at my laptop. Any questions, happy to answer.